Friday, May 29, 2009

The Locals

Last week I had the opportunity to shake the hand of a man I consider to be, for lack of a better word, a hero.


That's Michael Pollan. He's an author, professor and as far as I can tell, a big ole nerd. And I love him. This is the first piece of his that I read and I was instantly intrigued. A friend had recommended a book of his to me which I then read... most of. He definitely made botany more interesting than any text book could, and yet he cited his sources and presented a lot of really obscure information about apples, tulips and... well that's as far as I got. Compared to that article, it was more of a dry read. Mostly because I think it lacked that deep down passion the 1st article I read had. He is now popular enough to have 250 show up to a packed book signing and lecture at Barnes and Noble in Edina. A farmer friend of ours down in Houston told us that they left their day jobs to become farmers after reading that book. Talk about starting a movement.

The use of the word "local" is now part of the vernacular. It's already on the track to becoming a word like organic, that automatically makes the general population think it's more expensive, and is probably healthy. I can't wait to see a "local" sticker put on high fructose filled fruit snacks being sold at Cub that were produced in a General Mills factory somewhere in Minnesota.

But that doesn't mean I'm not on the local train. Far from it. I want to man the caboose on the local train and I like to think we're doing our part. While we aren't doing a vegetable CSA this year, we buy produce at Mill City Farmers market every weekend now that it's open, and try to get over to the co-ops as often as we can. For the past two months any meat we've cooked at home has come from our Meat CSA and we are never looking back. Aside from the great price of $5/pound for everything from pork shoulder to pasture fed chickens which produce the occasional green egg.


“If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country’s oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil every week.” (Steven L. Hopp)

WELL SHIT PEOPLE, we can do this! You don't have to change your entire life to make a difference. Buy a pack of Thousand Hills Cattle company ground beef, some faribault blue cheese, buns made at a local bakery and just like that you have yourself a local meal, and a delicious one at that.

Okay, I'll put my soapbox away.

We're being good locavores and have been tending to our vegetable (and fruit!) garden. In hopes of saving the world (and quite a few hard earned dollars) last Saturday we built our rain barrel which will keep our garden thriving all summer. If it ever rains.

For the record, I too did my fair share of sawing. Note to self, buy a Jigsaw.


We just need a flex downspout now and yes, I plan on weed wacking the dandelion farm you see to the left. And if you were slighly deceived, those ARE windows painted on our neighbors garage. Northeast has class.

That evening, if not mostly by circumstance, we ate an entirely local meal. We made a salad that won us a $100 gift card over at the Heavy Table and grilled up some incredibly tender, flavorful rib eyes from Sunshine Harvest farms.


Eating local is that easy.

For more haps on eating local in MN visit Lee's awesome site
and wander over to the The Heavy Table, and then make it your homepage.


Kassie said...

Eating local is easy, especially this time of year. Head to the farmers' market once a week and stay away from any stalls that sell bananas. Or just go to the St. Paul Farmers' Market because everything there is local.

And meatless once a week save the planet too.

Anonymous said...

people trashing mpkls farmers market often don't know that over 200 vendors there do provide local food.

a small sampling includes

Castle Rock Dairy
Dehns Gardens
Ames Farm
Star Prairie Trout
Sleeping Cat
Bar 5 Poultry
Fireside Orchards
SCenic Waters Wild Rice
Dozens of Hmong Growers
Dozens of other unamed veggie and berry growers

These ingorant comments bashing Mpls hurts these growers over there and is not nice

In the 1970's the then *12* covered stalls was reduced to the current 3 stalls. The CITY COUNCIL OF MPL okayed the membership of resellers as few growers were interested in the then dying farmers markets.

40 some years later some of these same families are here. PRior to the 1970's the Mpls farmers MArket was also mostly wholesale and intended for the grocers and restraunts.

My point is there is a historical reason for the resellers. They only make up 17 of the 235 members. Their non Mn produce also is eagerly snapped up at low prices by many of our lower income citizens.

I suggest Kassie the previous poster get down from her high perch and realize not everyone can afford her same tastes.

Every Farmers Market has its own personality like people - PLAY NICE!!!!

Kate said...

Who is bashing MPLS farmers market? I haven't yet attended it because the Mill City Market is directly across from my house, and I have to go there to pick up my Meat CSA and I love the small European feel to it.

I still go to the Minneapolis Farmer's Market, but Kassie is totally right about not going to stalls that sell bananas, or pineapples for that matter. I'd like to see a local farmer try to get away will selling pineapple.

I also happen to know Kassie went to the MPLS farmers market this weekend. I'm not really sure what high post you think she's standing on.

Bill Roehl said...

We just visited a local farm (Highview Pastures in Farmington on Sunday. I plan on buying chicken and pork from them for sure and possibly beef.

While I have only perused the Nicollet Mall Market and I probably won't make it to either of the metro farmers markets, I do shop and buy local as best I can.

Kassie said...

Hey Anonymous,
Did I say the word "Minneapolis" anywhere in my comment? Nope.

And all I said was stay away from stalls that sell bananas since bananas can't be local. I didn't say anything about staying away from the markets that have vendors with bananas, just those stalls IF YOU ARE TRYING TO EAT LOCAL, which is what the original post is about.

And what "tastes" do I tout that are too expensive for most people? I suggest buying local, which is often cheaper for veggies than not. You are the one talking about Star Prairie Trout and Castle Rock Dairy which are super expensive. I buy my veggies from Hmong farmers.

And if you really want me to go into why St. Paul's farmers' market is better than Minneapolis', I will. But that was never my intention.

Anonymous said...

Ok sorry Kassie - its well known that only Mpls markers on Lyndale and Nic Mall have resellers so anyone in the know, knows who you might have been referring to.

Happy shopping and thanks for touting Farmers Markets.

Amy P. said...

What a beautiful salad pic! You should try throwing in some young dandelion leaves next time and see what they're like, I'm serious. Since I've seen them cropping up at co-ops I'm intrigued but I haven't tried foraging them from my own yard yet.

I'll be interested to hear how you like your rain barrel, if it ever rains here.

Lee said...

What an terrific blog post, with awesome pictures, as always. And thank you so much for the shout out, I really appreciate it.

Kingfield's great farmers market opened yesterday. It will be even funner when those farmers markets have more local produce to sell.